Tag Archives: 4 lightning bolts

Review: The Vampire Prince by Darren Shan

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The Vampire Prince—buy it by Darren Shan—wiki him—his website Recommended Ages: 12+ Book 6 of “The Saga of Darren Shan,” also known in some markets as the “Cirque du Freak” series, begins where the previous book left young half-vampire Darren—in a damp, dark place deep within Vampire Mountain, hurtling down a subterranean river toward all but certain death. Even after he (barely) survives his tumble out of the mountain, Darren faces odds stacked mightily against ... Read More »

Review: The Second Siege by Henry H. Neff

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The Second Siege—buy it by Henry H. Neff—his website Recommended Ages: 12+ Book 2 of the “Tapestry” quartet continues with Max McDaniel’s second year at the Rowan Academy, a school for magically talented teens somewhere on the east coast of the U.S. I have already noted that Rowan has as much in common with Hogwarts as almost any school for magic. In this book, however, the apparent similarities between the two schools take a backseat ... Read More »

Review: Trials of Death by Darren Shan

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Trials of Death—buy it by Darren Shan—his website Recommended Ages: 12+ In book 5 of the “Saga of Darren Shan,” a.k.a. “Cirque Du Freak”—or book 2 of the “Vampire Rites” trilogy, which is the second of four trilogies within the same—half-vampire Darren starts to look less like an eternally whiny teenage git and more like someone with the potential to be a hero. But it looks as if he may need to be drowned, roasted, ... Read More »

Review: The Land of Stories The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer

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The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell - buy it By Chris Colfer – website Recommended Ages: 9+ Bookish Alex Bailey and her twin brother Conner are navigating sixth grade in very different ways. Struggling with a ‘family situation’, Alex sits at the front of the class and hangs on the stories and words of her teacher Mrs. Peters, whilst Conner is just trying to rest his eyes! The one thing they have in common is their ... Read More »

Book Review: Spirits in the Park by Scott Mebus

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Spirits in the Park—buy it by Scott Mebus—his website Recommended Ages: 12+ In Book 2 of the trilogy titled “Gods of Manhattan”—which started with the book by the same name—young Rory Hennessy takes big strides toward fulfilling his destiny as the last surviving Light in the city, county, and state of New York. This sentence immediately confronts me with the problem that there is so much to explain, just so you can understand what I’m ... Read More »

Review: The Search for Belle Prater by Ruth White

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The Search for Belle Prater—buy it by Ruth White—about the author Recommended Ages: 12+ In this companion to Belle Prater’s Boy, Gypsy and her cousin Woodrow do a little more growing-up in the small town of Coal Station, Virginia. It’s still the 1950s, when families like Gypsy’s are just getting their first TV set and, by running a wire up to a mountaintop antenna, they can pick up all of two networks. Black people are ... Read More »

Book Review: Tanglewood Tales by Nathaniel Hawthorne

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Tanglewood Tales—buy the paperback—free Kindle book by Nathaniel Hawthorne—wiki him Recommended Ages: 11+ You may have heard of the Tanglewood Music Festival in the Berkshire mountains of Massachusetts. This festival is named after the mansion where the festival is held. The mansion was named after the nearby cottage where Nathaniel Hawthorne stayed while writing this book. And the cottage, according to my sources, was named after this book—a sequel to the same author’s A Wonder-Book ... Read More »

Book Review: A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

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Her website Recommended Age: Adult with crossover appeal, 15+ The first in a series of adult novels that are filled to the brim with details that place the magical world directly in to modern day Oxford. The story of reluctant witch and keen academic of alchemy, Diana Bishop, begins in the dusty and mysterious setting of the Bodleian library. For those missing Hogwarts these libraries feel wonderfully familiar. Likewise fans of Pullman’s Lyra will get ... Read More »

Book Review: The Rose and the Ring by W. M. Thackeray

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The Rose and the Ring—read it online by William Makepeace Thackeray—wiki him Recommended Ages: 10+ This hilarious fairy-tale spoof was written as a “fireside pantomime,” to amuse a group of English children between Christmas and New Year while staying in an unnamed European city. Moreover, it was published under the pseudonym “Michael Angelo Titmarsh,” if you please. Today’s American children might not understand what’s so funny about that name, let alone what a pantomime is ... Read More »

Book Review: Plugged by Eoin Colfer

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Plugged—buy it by Eoin Colfer—website Recommended Ages: 14+ What happens when an author best known for his young adult fantasy novels pens an adult novel about crime, violence, and hair implants? Sheer mayhem! That’s what happens when a former Irish Army sergeant, turned bouncer at a gambling den in the sleepy town of Cloisters, New Jersey, stumbles into the business of an unlicensed plastic surgeon, a small-time gangster named “Irish Mike,” and a dirty lawyer ... Read More »